Following on from Descriptive Writing, this session looks at the three perspectives in writing:

  • First person (I)

  • Second person (you)

  • Third person (s/he)

It explores how each is used in literature and why, and talks briefly about the unreliable narrator.

Start by watching the lecture above.

Perspective Exercise


Part I

  1. Think of an event in your life.

  2. Take 30 minutes to write a short description of that event in either first or third person.

Part II


Take another 30 minutes to write either the same event or a different event using the opposite literary perspective. If you wrote in first person before, write in third person now, and vice versa.

Consider which perspective you felt more comfortable writing in. 



Book Recommendations Based on Perspective

If you go to these books on Amazon, you can usually preview the first few pages by clicking the book cover on the left, where it says 'look inside'.


First Person

The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill

Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor

The Mistress of Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

The Binding by Bridget Collins

World War Z by Max Brooks


Second Person

Life's Lottery by Kim Newman

Romeo and/or Juliet by Ryan North

Any of the Fighting Fantasy series by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone


Third Person

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

The Hitchhiker's Guide to The Galaxy  by Douglas Adams 

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern